2004-11-22 - Fainting Christians
Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."
We have probably all seen the home video shows on the idiot box where the groom faints at his wedding, and that is not what I have in mind. However, the principle is easily translated into what I have in mind. A fainting Christian is one who does not live up to his/her calling as a Christian. But a fainting Christian is also one who is struggling to live up to his/her calling as a Christian, and that is where I would like to focus today. Being a fainting Christian in no way means that we cannot also, at the same time, be striving Christians. All of us are fainting Christians to some extent, and if you are not a Christian, you know your heart testifies that there is, as Pascal said, a God-shaped void in your life that only He can fill. We are all fainting to some extent, in that we don't live up to the expectations or the rules of having Christ as our Lord, and as this is meant to be a devotional, I address followers of Jesus Christ specifically.
Everyone reaches a point where we feel poor and needy, and that all the constellations are screaming that there is no help on the way. Some of us may reach the point that we think that as we are faithful, the world crumbles around us, and it is as if we stand alone as the flower in the thorns...faithful to God, but no one notices. Where do the pearls of God's faithful go? This is exactly what Ezekiel wondered. As followers of Christ, we are heirs of Heaven, and yet we live in a world of darkness. It is easy to feel alone. It is easy to be a fainting Christian. It is easy to think we can have no impact on the world around us, that we don't matter, that God is not using us. But this is never true with the Christian. Like it or not, when we came to faith in Christ, we became light to a world which is captivated by darkness. We are light in the world as we live faithfully to Christ. We may not see it, we may not live up to the calling, but as we follow Christ faithfully, we shine as lights in the world. Fainting, struggling, enduring as we are, we are still to be the lights of truth to the world.
When we look at our shortcomings, there is no place that we can look but the cross. We have all failed, and there is no comfort when our conscience bugs us, than that which is found in the cross of Christ. In Christ, there is forgiveness from all our shortcomings. When we know our shortcomings, we need to remember God's promises to us...
"I will never leave you or forsake you," Hebrews 13:5."I will be with you, I will not fail you or forsake you," Joshua 1:5. "He will not forsake you," Deuteronomy 31:6. The Lord is strong for fainting Christians. It is so easy to give into sin, to feel alone, but the Lord is faithful, and we must seek to be also.
These promises can be a great comfort to us, especially when we are struggling. The Lord has promised to be faithful to us. When we struggle and feel like all around us is crashing down upon our heads, and we want to run and hide from the assaults of the world, God has not forsaken us. He is faithful, and though we may faint, we have a tower of strength in the Lord. I want to encourage you to think some (even meditate) on the promises found in the verses I just quoted above.
Soli Deo Gloria,